Kyrie Irving led Brooklyn Nets to a thrilling 141-126 victory over Boston Celtics on Sunday night. But what caught the attention of the world was the hideous act of a fan.
After Irving was walking off the pitch with 39 points and 11 rebounds, a fan threw a water bottle at him. The culprit was later arrested and banned from attending any NBA game at the TD Garden.
However, Irving doesn’t feel that subjecting anyone to a ban will solve the issue.
“[It’s] just underlying racism, and treating people like they’re in a human zoo. Throwing stuff at people, saying things. There’s a certain point where it gets to be too much,” Irving said in a post-game interview.
“You see people just feel very entitled out here. … As a Black man playing in the NBA, dealing with a lot of this stuff, it’s fairly difficult. You never know what’s going to happen.”
Last week, the NBA star had said that he faced a lot of racism during his time in Boston.
The man in the Kevin Garnett jersey, who threw the bottle at the Nets guard, was caught after Irving and Tyler Johnson pointed him out from the stands. The police then led him out of the court in handcuffs.
The arrest was confirmed by a spokeswoman for the TD Garden, who affirmed that the Boston Police had nabbed a person “for throwing an object.”
Spox Tricia McCorkle remarked: “We have zero tolerance for violations of our guest code of conduct. And the guest is subject to a lifetime ban from TD Garden.”
Irving’s teammate and Nets forward Kevin Durrant did not mince his words on the incident.
Durant said: “You coming to the game is not all about you as a fan. So have some respect for the game. Have some respect for human beings. And have some respect for yourself. Your mother wouldn’t be proud of you throwing water bottles at basketball players, or spitting on players or tossing popcorn. So grow the (expletive) up and enjoy the game. It’s bigger than you.”
He said he could understand that fans are agitated due to the coronavirus restrictions, but they have to consider the players as humans.
“Fans have got to grow up at some point. I know that being in the house for a year and a half with the pandemic has got a lot of people on edge, has got a lot of people stressed out. But when you come to these games you’ve got to realize: These men are human. We’re not animals. We’re not in the circus,” he added.
Although this was an extreme scenario at the TD Garden, the NBA stars around the US are not being treated well by fans.
A fan threw popcorn at Russell Westbrook in Philadelphia, whereas one spit at Trae Young in New York, when the Atlanta star was preparing to inbound the ball. These fans were banned as well.